Not every actor in Hollywood became famous overnight. Some had the toughest battles with their career trajectories that often went up and down. Take a look at 15 actors whose dying careers were saved by one role:
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. – KISS KISS BANG BANG
In 2005, Robert Downey Jr.’s career trajectory took a massive fall. The accusations of drug abuse and a time in prison gave him a toxic reputation in Hollywood. However, Marvel studios saw his performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and found the perfect man for playing Tony Stark. The rest is history.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS – HAROLD & KUMAR
Doogie Howser was such an important role in his life that even a decade after the show had wrapped up everyone called Neil Patrick Harris Doogie. His stripper-hungry character in Harold & Kumar gave him a completely new image after which he landed in How Met Your Mother.
JOSH BROLIN – NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
The Goonies was Josh Brolin’s first film that earned him a rightful amount of recognition in showbiz. However, it was after 20 years when No Country For Old Men happened that skyrocketed Brolin’s career leading to much bigger roles like Thanos and Cable in the MCU.
DREW BARRYMORE – SCREAM
During her teens, Drew Barrymore was in and out of rehab. The E.T. childstar’s career trajectory shot up after that one-scene cameo she did in Scream. After that she landed roles in films like Never Been Kissed and Charlie’s Angels.
SEAN CONNERY – THE UNTOUCHABLES
It was pretty hard for Sean Connery to leave the shadow of James Bond in the 70s. It was his role of Jim Malone in The Untouchables that landed him an Academy Award in 1988 which changed paths for him and won him a role in The Hunt for Red October.
MICKEY ROURKE – SIN CITY
Rourke was on one of the most critically acclaimed actor of the 80’s. He later started a boxing career after which he could only do small roles all through the 90s. After 2005’s Sin City, Rourke did a massive comeback and landed himself films like The Wrestler – a film that won him a Golden Globe.
PAM GRIER – JACKIE BROWN
Pam Grier was one of the most recognised star of the 70s. Her small appearances a Snoop Dogg video and an episode of The Fresh Prince were considered her career peaks until Tarantino gave her the title role in the now-classic Jackie Brown.
MICHAEL KEATON – BIRDMAN
Keaton easily owned the 80s and 90s after his portrayal of Beetlejuice and Batman. It was 2014’s Birdman that jolted his career once again and earned him an Oscar nomination.
KURT RUSSELL – DEATH PROOF
Kurt Russell had 80s cult hits like Escape From New York but his star power cooled by the mid 90s. After Tarantino cast him in 2007s Death Proof, he got back to blockbusters like the Fast & Furious series and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2.
INGRIDD BERGMAN – ANASTASIA
Ingrid Bergman was one of the most popular actresses in the world after she starred in 1942s Casablanca. Her career resurected and she bounced back after long halt with her Oscar-winning performance in 1956’s Anastasia.
JOHN TRAVOLTA – PULP FICTION
After delivering hits like Saturday Night Fever and Grease in the 70s, Travolta had multiple flops in the 80s took down his career. His portrayal of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction put him back on the A-list after which he delivered a string of hits.
DIANE LANE – A WALK ON THE MOON
Rose to fame in the 80s, Diane lane had a brief period of retirement after multiple flops. 1999s A Walk On The Moon pulled her back into the limelight and lead to an Oscar nomination in the steamy thriller Unfaithful.
DAVID CARRADINE – KILL BILL
Carradine earned recognition in the 70s by his iconic role as Caine in Kung Fu. However, the 80s and 90s were not at all fruitful for him. Martial arts fans worldwide saw his legacy reach new heights as Bill in Kill Bill.
JASON BATEMAN – ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
Bateman was a child-star in Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons, but Hollywood got the best of his teens and 20s. After he sobered up, he landed Arrested Development, calling it the pivotal turning point in his professional life.
BRENDAN FRASER – NO SUDDEN MOVE
It’s been an era since his all-time The Mummy and it could be too early to say, but 2021’s No Sudden Move has landed Fraser on Martin Scorcese’s radar for 2022s Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio.